The Top 5 Fish Eye Lenses for Shooting 360 Panoramas

If you want to start shooting high quality 360 panoramas with your DSLR then the most important thing to consider is what fish eye lens to buy. In this post you’ll find the best fish eye lenses for 360 photography available now. I’ve included a range of options including Nikon, Cannon and Samyang as well as options for full frame and micro 4/3. You’ll also find a few budget friendly options.

Lens Features Rating Price Where to Buy

HD Pentax 10-17 mm f3.5

  • Excellent Sharpness
  • No Chromatic Abberation
  • Little Lens Flare
  • High Quality Build and Design
  • Best Value For Money
$450 / £480 Buy from Amazon

Nikkor 8-15 mm

  • Best Image Quality
  • Less Photos for Full 360 Required
  • Little Lens Flare
  • Little to No Lens Flare
  • Easy Stitching with Latest Software
  • Weather Sealed Design
$1250 / £1400 Buy from Amazon

Pentax 10-17 mm f3.5

  • Older Version of the HD Pentax
  • Half The Price
  • Excellent Image Sharpness
  • Slightly More Lens Flare & Chromatic Abberation
  • Great Budget Option
$250 / £280 Buy from Amazon

Canon 8-15 mm F/4L

  • Great For Canon DSLR Users
  • Top of the Line Fish Eye Lens
  • Unparalleled Image Sharpness
  • Easy Stitching
  • Little lens Flare
$1249 / £1400 Buy from Amazon

Samyang 7.5 mm

  • Availale for Full Framed or Micro 4/3
  • Excellent Image Quality and Sharpness
  • Very Cheap
  • Easy Stitching
  • No Auto-focus
  • More Obvious Lens Flare
$229 / £250 Buy from Amazon

 

The first thing to consider when choosing a fish eye lens for 360 panoramas is the quality of the optics. The best 360 images are sharp, detailed and colorful with excellent dynamic range. A 360 image will capture an entire room, outdoor space or even a whole city, you’ll therefore find yourself shooting a wide variety of lighting conditions in the same shot.

Optical quality and image sharpness should be your first consideration, but you’ll also need to think about how each lens deals with artificial light and lens flare. If you are going to be taking a lot of indoor shots (perhaps for real estate VR tours) then you don’t want huge beams of lens flare from every artificial light.

A unique aspect of 360 photography is the stitching process. 360 panoramas with a DSLR are usually made of 5 – 8 individual images which are then stitched together in a program like PTGui. You’ll want to make sure your lens is compatible with these programs (every lens in this post is).

Shooting 360 panoramas with a DSLR takes time, skill and a fair bit of equipment, but the result is very attractive, professional quality 360 panoramas. If you want a faster, cheaper and easier way to shoot high quality 360 images then check out the all-in-one Ricoh Theta Z1. The end result will be lower quality but should still be good enough in a lot of situations.

Top Fish Eye Lenses

BEST VALUE: HD Pentax 10-17 mm f3.5 

The best value fish eye lens for 360 panoramas has got to be the HD Pentax 10-17mm f3.5. Far cheaper than the top of the range lenses from Nikon and Canon, the Pentax can nearly match them in terms of sharpness and image quality.

The optics in this lens are excellent and it’s able to keep lens flare to a minimum. The manual focus is smooth and easy to operate and you’ll find all the latest image stitching programs recognise the lens profile for stitching.

Buy from Amazon

 

back to menu ↑

BEST QUALITY: Nikkor 8-15 mm

This is the top of the line fish eye lens with unmatched optics and exquisite image quality. Shooting 360 panoramas with the Nikkor 8-15mm will results in the sharpest and most attractive 360 images possible. The camera can handle almost any type of lens flare, reducing unwanted beams and lens flare to nearly nothing.

The 8-15mm zoom means you can shoot a high quality panoramic image in as little at 5 shots however 8 is the optimal for the best quality. Sharpness is maintained up to the corners of the image (a common issue with fish eye lenses) and the build quality of the lens is premium standard, with weather proofing built in.

These features come at a high cost, too high for some. This is a favourite lens among professional 360 photographers, however if you are looking to shoot real estate virtual tours then this might be overkill. Check out some of the cheaper but still high quality lenses.

Buy from Amazon

 

back to menu ↑

BEST BUDGET OPTION: Pentax 10-17 mm f3.5

 

The older version of the Pentax 10-17mm is still a great option if you are on a limited budge. This lens punches way above its weight when it comes to shooting high quality images with great contrast. While the optical quality cannot match up to more expensive lenses you will still be able to produce professional quality 360 panoramas.

The price of the lens is unbeatable, however you’ll have to contend with more lens flare and possible chromatic abberation in some shots which will need to be dealt with in post production.

Buy from Amazon

 

back to menu ↑

Canon 8-15 mm F/4L

If you are a fan of Canon lenses or own a Canon DSLR then this is their top of the range fish eye lens. The camera produces extremely high quality images with edge to edge sharpness. You’ll find the lens deals with all types of lighting conditions with ease.

This is a direct competitor to the Nikkor 8-15mm and can match it in terms of 360 image quality. The price of the lens is also similarly high and your choice may be down to brand loyalty and which system you are most comfortable with.

Buy from Amazon

 

back to menu ↑

Samyang 7.5 mm

Another budget option that also works with the Micro 4/3 system. The lens is cheap & cheerful with no autofocus, which is useless when shooting 360 panoramas anyway. the Samyang is much better than its price suggests and can shoot excellent quality images.

The Samyang will product softer images than more expensive competitors and you’ll likely notice a lot more lens flare with bright lights. Iv’e also noticed more chromatic abberation when shooting with this lens, but this is easily removed in the editing process. The tiny size and low price of the Samyang make it perfect for those just starting out shooting 360 panoramas.

Buy from Amazon

 

See Also: How to Start a VR Tour Business


Watch my latest video

Owner of threesixtycameras.com. Writer, photographer and videographer. You can see my YouTube channel for guides of how to shoot 360 video. I've written for The Times, Digital Photography School and Sunday Express.  

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.